Spain's Lost Memory 1936-1975
To this day the bodies of up to 114,000 ‘disappeared’ from the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, and the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, 1939-1975, lie in unmarked mass graves in roadsides, on the edges of towns and villages, in ravines or in fields.
Memoria Perdida comprises photographs of the sites of the mass graves and related atrocity sites that have not been opened or commemorated yet. Many sites have been lost, have been hidden by new constructions or have disappeared without any hint or sign remembering their cruel past. The lack of historical memory, justice and truth that I encountered at those locations made me wanting to shed a light on its hidden past.
I intended to approach the atrocity sites as neutrally as possible and to respond to what I would find and feel. I captured the places as close to the same hour, day and season of the year of the killings as possible. Most photographs were taken after sunset and before sunrise, the preferred hour for “walking” and executing people. The emptiness and silence that caught me when visiting the sites gives a certain serenity to the landscapes in strong contrast to the horrors which occurred there. Whilst the sites were impregnated with human traces, it was the human absence that struck me the most. It made me think about the victims and somehow re-established their presence into the empty landscape.
Miquel Gonzalez (1964, Germany) studied photography at the IEFC in Barcelona and started his career as a documentary and portrait photographer in 1991. Since 2000 Miquel lives in the Netherlands.
Miquel Gonzalez’ photography is socially oriented and investigates themes of history, memory and violence. He is interested in the human condition and especially in the borderline areas of both the individual and the landscape that often have been harmed by civilization. Characteristic of Miquel’s work is a contemplative and balanced view on the spaces and situations that he photographs inciting the viewer to further reflect on the subject.
His work has been published in a number of international magazines including Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, GEO, NZZ, Washington Post, Stern, The Times, Wired, The New Yorker. In 2018 he published the book Memoria Perdida.
Miquel is represented by De Beeldunie (Netherlands), laif Agentur für Photos & Reportagen (Germany) and REDUX (USA). His is a member of the professional Dutch photographers’ associations NVJ/NVF and DuPho.